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The mission at Auburn Community Hospital is to provide the best outcome for every patient, every time. We do this by providing compassionate quality care with a goal of improving the health of our community and every patient that comes through our doors. Recently the media has reported on allegations made by physicians who no longer work at Auburn Community Hospital and who have sued the hospital in employment actions. We believe that these assertions are unproven allegations made by former employees and further, that the hospital denies any allegations of quality of care issues or wrongdoing.

We can comment on a resolved matter. A complaint was filed with the state Department of Health last summer related to policies and procedures associated with management oversight of employees at Auburn Community Hospital. The Department of Health responded to the complaint and conducted a thorough inquiry in late August. The inspectors interviewed numerous nurses and doctors and staff of the hospital including doctors who are mentioned in the media reports. The Department of Health inspectors found certain deficiencies related to a lack of oversight and formal documentation when addressing personnel issues. However, there was no finding that the quality of care was compromised.

In response, the hospital developed a “Plan of Correction” as required by the state health department and submitted the plan in September. The Department of Health accepted our “Plan of Correction” on Oct. 24. In addition, the state investigators came back on site at the hospital in November and concluded that no further action was required.

Health care is a highly regulated discipline. The hospital is subject to numerous inspections and complies will all state and federal requirements. Like all hospitals in the country, we are kept to a very high standard — and we should be. In short, we are continually striving to improve our policies and procedures related to management oversight, in compliance with all state and federal regulations.

I would also like to take the time to comment about all of the good things we do that sometimes get lost when employment disputes are publicly aired.

Think about this:

• In just the last 18 months or so we have signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with St. Joseph’s Health and The University of Rochester Medical Center.

• We have invested over $1 million in technology for interventional radiology.

• We have invested in a new imaging technology for our surgeons.

• We have a state-of-the-art Tesla Ultra High Definition MRI facility — open seven days a week

• We opened a new infusion center in 2018.

• We have recruited some great new doctors in the area of neurology, orthopedics, psychiatry (including child and adolescent care), colorectal surgery, endocrinology, geriatrics and more to come.

• We have received awards for stroke care, bariatric care and maternity care.

• Our nursing home is a “People Choice” for Best Nursing Home/High Quality Care.

In 2018 Auburn Community Hospital experienced the following:

• Total admissions: 4,895

•  Total ER visits: 27,372

• Total surgeries: 5,159 inpatient and outpatient

• Total laboratory: 1.4 million tests

• Total deliveries: 362

• Total monthly visits to our local physician practices: 142,914

In addition we have the following economic impact on our community, according to a Healthcare Association of New York State analysis:

• $163 million in economic activity — defined as jobs and purchasing of goods and services.

• $56 million in payroll expenditures – direct salary and benefits of ACH employees. (The hospital employs over 1,100 people with good wages and benefits.)

• $22 million in tax dollars generated – ACH generates tax dollars to stimulate local economy.

• $13 million in community investments – ACH covers cost of care to people in need, subsidizes care and services to low incomes, elderly, and invests in numerous community events and health care initiatives. When you add this all up your hospital drives a $254 million total economic impact in our community and the surrounding service areas.

We are making great progress in a very competitive marketplace while providing outstanding healthcare to everyone who comes through our doors regardless of their ability to pay. Auburn Community Hospital is YOUR hospital. Not only do we take care of you and your family when you have health issues, but we also employ your friends and neighbors. So yes, like every hospital in the country, we sometimes need to make adjustments, but we never lose sight that our patients are our No. 1 priority.

Thank you for your consideration.

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Scott A. Berlucchi is president and CEO of Auburn Community Hospital.

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